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Enhancing the communicative dimension of legal translation: comparable corpora in the research-informed classroom


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The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how comparable corpora may be used in the classroom to increase the communicative dimension of legal translations, an aspect which tends to be neglected in training. The perspective is that of an English-Polish translator trainer in the Master’s translation programme. The author proposes two complementary applications: Method 1–Use of corpora to translate: hands-on experience during the translation process; and Method 2–Study of corpora to reflect on the translation process. The first application, whereby corpora are used as a decision-making aid and a resource during the translation process, is oriented towards increasing the textual fit of trainees’ translations by raising the awareness of target legal conventions, allowing for more nuanced terminology/phraseology work, reduced interference and a selection of more familiar patternings. The second method is used to study professional translations to develop critical thinking for translation purposes and strengthen the strategic sub-competence. Overall, both methods contribute to the training of functional translators who are aware of their role in translator-mediated legal communication.
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Enhancing the communicative dimension of legal
translation: comparable corpora in the research-
informed classroom
Łucja Biel
To cite this article: Łucja Biel (2017) Enhancing the communicative dimension of legal translation:
comparable corpora in the research-informed classroom, The Interpreter and Translator Trainer,
11:4, 316-336, DOI: 10.1080/1750399X.2017.1359761
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Enhancing the communicative dimension of legal
translation: comparable corpora in the research-informed
Łucja Biel
Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how comparable
corpora may be used in the classroom to increase the commu-
nicative dimension of legal translations, an aspect which tends to
be neglected in training. The perspective is that of an English-
Polish translator trainer in the Masters translation programme. The
author proposes two complementary applications: Method 1Use
of corpora to translate: hands-on experience during the translation
process; and Method 2Study of corpora to reect on the transla-
tion process. The rst application, whereby corpora are used as a
decision-making aid and a resource during the translation process,
is oriented towards increasing the textual t of traineestransla-
tions by raising the awareness of target legal conventions, allow-
ing for more nuanced terminology/phraseology work, reduced
interference and a selection of more familiar patternings. The
second method is used to study professional translations to
develop critical thinking for translation purposes and strengthen
the strategic sub-competence. Overall, both methods contribute
to the training of functional translators who are aware of their role
in translator-mediated legal communication.
Received 9 January 2016
Accepted 23 July 2017
Comparable corpora; legal
translation; translator
training; textual t; critical
The optimisation of communication is one of the professional norms expected to be con-
formed to by translators: a translator is a communication expert both as a mediator of the
intentions of others and as a communicator in his/her own right(Chesterman 1997, 69).
Translation competence as such is believed to be part of a broader communicative compe-
tence (Göpferich 2013,63).InherseminalbookSusanŠarčevićdenes legal translation as an
act of communication within the mechanism of the law(1997, 55). Strongly supporting this
functional receiver-orientedunderstanding of legal translation, the present paper explores
how comparable corpora may be used in the classroom to increase the communicative
dimension of legal translations through two complementary applications:
Method 1Use of corpora to translate: hands-on experience during the translation process;
Method 2Study of corpora to reect on the translation process: research-informed
activities promoting critical thinking.
CONTACT Łucja Biel
VOL. 11, NO. 4, 316336
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
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My perspective is that of an English-Polish translator trainer at the Masters degree
level with specialised (non-literary) translation programmes where legal translation
modules in languages B and C introduce students to legal translation and are part of
a broader curriculum. The programme oers not only practical translation workshops
but also academic/research-oriented components, such as lectures, seminars and MA
projects. This setting may be regarded as standard in the early formative development
of legal translators, although, quite obviously, it does not cover all training situations,
especially in the later stages, e.g. on Continuous Professional Development and post-
graduate diploma courses, which are more intense, professionally-oriented and tend to
skip the academic component. The training context covers two types of legal transla-
tion: inter-systemic legal translation and EU institutional translation, excluding intra-
systemic legal translation in multilingual countries.
1. Comparable corpora and legal corpora in translator training
The idea of resorting to target-language texts during the translation process is not new;
it has been long used in training and practice on a smaller scale, without any software,
under the name of parallel texts(see Hatim 2001, 166; Schäner 1998, 83), to develop
contrastive analysis skills and in particular to adapt translations to target-language
generic conventions (Schäner 1998, 83). What is new with electronic comparable
corpora is that they enable sophisticated searches with dedicated software on larger
representative collections of texts.
The rst applications of electronic corpora in the translation classroom were
reported in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which was just a few years after Mona
Bakers series of inspiring visionary papers in the early 1990s (see Baker 1995),
encouraging translation scholars to use comparable corpora to research translations.
The next step was to experiment with the corpora in the classroom. For example,
Bowker (1998) conducted an experiment on two groups of students, with one group
translating a specialised text on optical scanners with the use of a comparable corpus
and the other without a corpus. The experiment showed an improved subject compre-
hension, term choice and idiomatic constructions, with no signicant improvement at
the grammatical level (Bowker 1998). Similar results were soon reported by other
translation scholars (Zanettin 1998; Bowker 1998; Varantola 2002; Zanettin,
Bernardini, and Stewart 2003; Bernardini 2004). In 2005, Calzada Pérez (2005) identi-
ed Corpus-Based Translation Studies as one of seven teaching trends with applications
in translator training.
Despite the growing use of corpora to train specialised translators, there are relatively
few publications documenting the applications of corpora in the legal translation
classroom and they mainly come from Spain.
The most prominent examples come
from the GENTT (Textual Genres for Translation) Research Group
at the University
of Jaume I (Monzó Nebot 2008; Borja Albi 2013; Borja Albi et al. 2014). For example,
Esther Monzó Nebots important paper applies Bourdieus concepts of neutralisation
and universalisation, as well as defamiliarisation to legal translation, to propose prac-
tical corpus-based exercises for legal translation trainees (2008). Papers by Borja Albi
(2013) and Borja Albi et al. (2014) describe the design of the JudGENTT, a web
platform with documentary, textual and terminological resources for the translation
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of court documents, which may serve as a repository of teaching and learning resources,
and explain their genre-based approach to teaching legal translation and legal English.
More recently, Sánchez Ramos, and Vigier Moreno (2016) from the University of Alcalá
describe the application of monolingual virtual corpora in the training of public service
Comparable corpora are understood as monolingual translation-drivencorpora
the design of which is motivated by translation research or training (Zanettin 2012,8)
and which allow for some types of comparisons. A typical translation-driven compar-
able corpus comprises (1) a corpus of translations and (2) a corpus of texts created
spontaneously in the same (target) language, i.e. nontranslations, both of which were
designed using the same sampling frame (McEnery and Hardie 2012, 19). While the
comparable corpus proper is used for Method 2 (Study of corpora to reect on the
translation process), Method 1 (Use of corpora to translate) requires only the second
component of such a corpusmonolingual target system corpora used as a benchmark
when translating a source text. For the purposes of this paper, the term comparable
corpora will subsume both the comparable corpus proper and its componentmono-
lingual target corpora.
Parallel corpora, which are corpora comprised of translations aligned with their source
texts, are excluded at this initial stage of training and from the focus of this paper. Useful
as they are especially in the later stages of professional development as a repository of
translatorsstrategies and choices(Zanettin 2014, 178) and a way of socialisation with
professional translators (Monzó Nebot 2008, 243), I would argue that they oer too easy
ready-made solutions which may inhibit the development of reective thinking skills and
adequate search procedures and, hence, they should be introduced incrementally. In
particular, in the case of EU institutional translation, terminological searches through
the static parallel corpus or translation memory tend to be far less accurate than searches
in specic legal instruments in EUR-Lex and/or the IATE terminological database; how-
ever, they are far more tempting to trainees due to the speed of retrieval.
Parallel corpora
are not excluded entirely at an early stage since it is unavoidable that students use Linguee.
com (which works as a parallel corpus)
and like tools or translation memory concor-
dances if they work in a computer-assisted tool (CAT).
In respect of the applications of legal corpora, the major constraint faced by trainers
is their limited availability. So far insucient eorts have been devoted to the devel-
opment of corpus-based tools intended to assist legal translators in their work. There
are limited corpus resources, in particular for lesser used languages, and when such
resources are available they are not always freely accessible (e.g. the Cambridge Corpus
of Legal English). Examples of legal English corpora include
BoLC Bononia Legal Corpus of UK Acts of Parliament, national law, time span
19962003 (,
JRC Acquis with EU legislation and case law, international law, time span
19582006 (,
DGT Acquis, international law, time span 20042011 (
Hansard Corpus of British Parliament speeches, semi-legal corpus, time span
18032005 (
318 Ł.BIEL
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The situation should hopefully change in the near future as there are increased eorts to
build large corpus resources of law in a number of countries, e.g. Bilingwis Swiss Law
Text collection (Höer and Sugisaki 2014) or JuReko German Legal Reference
Some modest corpus resources have also been created as part of research
projects aimed at developing tools for professional translators, such as the LAW10n
project (software licensing agreements; Torres-Hostench and Salinas 2015) and the
QUALETRA project (essential documents under Directive 2010/64/EU).
The above list of available corpora is also an indication of the skewedness of legal
corpora towards legicentrism,
i.e. legal corpora are usually composed of legislation,
whichin contrast to private legal documentsis not subject to condentiality and
copyright restrictions and is publicly accessible, e.g.
UK legislation:;
US legislation:;
EU legislation:
On the one hand, legislation is hardly representative of the entire legal discourse, which
subsumes also secondary genres (judgments, cases, courtroom genres), enabling/pedagogical
genres for academic purposes (textbooks) and for professional purposes (pleadings, problem
solving essays), target genres (contracts, court case documents) (Bhatia 2006,67), as well as
more peripheral genres, such as university diplomas, certicates and crime ction (Alcaraz
and Hughes 2002, 101152) or the language of auxiliary disciplines, such as criminology, court
medicine or court psychiatry; semi-legal language of politicians and journalists who discuss
law; and the language of citizens talking about legal issues (Zieliński 1999,72).Itshouldalsobe
noted that, except for bilingual countries and some international organisations, legislation is
not that often translated in the classroom and in professional practice. On the other hand, legal
genres are highly hierarchical and legislation is on top of genre hierarchy in the system of legal
genres (see Bhatia (2006) for legislation as a primary genre and Kjær (2000)forlegislationas
law-constituting texts), exerting a profound inuence on lower-ranking interdependent
genres (see Biel 2014,2122 for further discussion). The inuenceisstronglyfeltatthelevel
of terminology and collocations, which become xedin legislation and are replicated in lower
ranking genres. For this reason legislative corpora should not be discarded as non-represen-
tative: while it may be a serious methodological issue in research aspiring to make general-
isations about legal discourse/translation, it is not necessarily a disadvantage in translator
training. Quite the contrary, legislative corpora come in handy for terminology/collocation
sensitise students to the need to work with legislation as a primary source of terminological/
conceptual information. Yet legislative corpora have to be supplemented with smaller genre-
based corpora in order to go beyond the term level (generic conventions, microstructure,
syntax and other patterns), the issue which will be addressed in Section 3.1.
2. Corpora and legal translation competence
The description of competences required of legal translators has evolved over time from
product-oriented to process-oriented and from single to multi-competence models.
Šarčevićs(1997,113114) model of the ideal yet, as she notes, non-existent legal
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translator lists basic legal skills, such as a thorough knowledge of legal terminology, legal
reasoning and target language (TL) and source language (SL) legal systems, the ability to
solve legal problems, analyse legal texts and foresee text construal, drafting skills, basic
knowledge of comparative law and methods. This ideal exposes the centrality of thematic
competence, which is regarded as a distinguishing attribute of legal translation compe-
tence (Prieto Ramos 2011,1213). More recent approaches embed thematic competence
in multi-competence models, such as the PACTE model (PACTE 2003)ortheEMTmodel
(Gambier ed. 2009), where the focus is placed on strategic competence and translation
service provision competence,
respectively. Caos model of legal translation competence
(2014,112113) consists of translational language competence, translational knowledge
structures, translational strategic competence, and professional and technological compe-
tence. Prieto Ramoss integrative process-oriented approach (2011, 12) subsumes ve
competences: strategic/methodological competence, communicative and textual compe-
tence (e.g. linguistic knowledge), thematic and cultural competence, instrumental compe-
tence and interpersonal and professional management competence.
Following the
PACTE model, Prieto Ramos considers strategic/methodological competence as an acti-
vator and controller of all translation skills, including those related to the decision-making
process, translation procedures and quality control (2011, 13). Working within the frame-
work of the QUALETRA project, Scarpa and Orlando (2017) adopt the EMT model of
competenciesthat is the central translation service provision competence and language,
thematic, intercultural, information mining and technological competencesto legal
The use of corpora would naturally fall under instrumental competence (Prieto Ramos
model), information mining competence (Scarpa and Orlandos model) and technological
competence (Caos model, Scarpa and Orlandos model), which rely on the eective use of
legal resources and tools during the translation process and the ability to extract the
required information from documents. Some models specically name electronic corpora
among such tools, e.g. the EMT model (Gambier ed. 2009, 6) and the PACTE model (2003,
58) among the general ones and Scarpa and Orlandos model (2017) among the legal ones.
This type of competence is predominantly procedural in nature (cf. PACTE 2003,58).
Yet corpora may facilitate the acquisition of other competences as well. As argued by
Bernardini, corpora may actually contribute to all EMT-model competences: thematic
competence by deepening traineesknowledge of a specialised eld thanks to information
searches (2016, 20), language competence, intercultural and ultimately translation service
provision (strategic) competence (29). As competences are interrelated and hierarchical
(PACTE 2003, 47), it seems important in the context of legal translation to link the use of
corpora to the controlling strategic competence and the central thematic competence.
3. Applications of comparable corpora in the classroom
3.1. Method 1: use of corpora to translate: hands-on experience during the
translation process
In this method target-system corpora are used in the classroom as a translating aid, as
an additional resource, to facilitate the decision-making process and to help students
complete a translation assignment up to a professional standard.
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I would argue that the major advantage of target-system corpora is their ability to
help students increase the textual t of translations. As proposed by Andrew
Chesterman, there are two fundamental relations in translation: the relation of equiva-
lence (the relation of translation to the source text) oriented towards accuracy and
precision, and the relation of textual t (the relation of translation to non-translated
target-language texts of a comparable genre), which is oriented to the naturalness and
acceptability of translations (Chesterman 2004). The textual t determines the commu-
nicative dimension of translationsas a rough rule of thumb, the more convergent the
t, the higher is the communicative dimension of translation.
It must, however, be observed that although legal translation should in principle
facilitate communication between source text authors and target text recipients, recom-
mendations for how convergent the t should be vary, depending on the type of legal
translation (intersystemic/intrasystemic) and the level of language organisation. Due to the
system-dependent nature of legal terms, which consists in the high incongruity of legal
terms across legal systems (Šarčević1997,232),thefullyconvergenttofterminologyis
rarely possible. In principle, for the sake of simplication for training purposes, if there is
high congruity between the source concept and the target concept, functional equivalents
are expected to be used; however, in the much more common case of incongruity,
descriptive equivalents or other forms of neologisms which signal foreignness tend to be
(see also Šarčević1997, 236; Monzó Nebot 2008, 224 for a grid of strategic
decisions in legal translation). In contrast, the remaining levels, in particular syntax,
phraseology and other non-terminological lexico-grammatical patterns, are expected to
be convergent to target recipientsexpectations, as in other types of translation.
In the above discussed absence of varied genre-based corpus resources to be used in
the legal translation classroom, DIY corporaalso known as ad hoc corpora and
disposable corpora (Varantola 2002)represent a viable solution of sorts. These are
small generic corpora, built quickly, e.g. in 20 minutes, usually by web harvesting, to
complete a translation assignment. DIY corpora have been adopted to and researched
for legal translation purposes by Juliette Scott, who argues that even though such
corpora are not representative, they are reliable and t for the purpose (2012). The
use of a legal DIY corpus may be illustrated with the following task.
Translation brief: Translate a Polish umowa licencyjna [license agreement] for a US-based
Students are rst given about 20 minutes to harvest the web for English-language license
agreements. Next the agreements are assessed for appropriateness and to select those
which have a US-based party. Ideally, 10 such agreements should be collected as a
minimum. The nal les are converted into a txt format and uploaded to Wordsmith
Tools or another concordancer, such as open-source AntConc. The corpus is queried
during the translation process, especially for terms and their collocational environment, to
ensure the consistency of translation with US readersexpectancy norms.
DIY corpora allow students to compile a TL corpus which corresponds to TL recipients
legal system. In the example above students search for agreements of US rather than
UK provenance. This raises their awareness of the system-bound nature of legal
translation, where the terminology of US licence agreements may dier from that of
UK agreements. Such targeted corpora are an invaluable resource not only for
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translators without legal background but also for inverse translation, that is translation
into ones non-native language, as is the case above, which is very frequent for
languages of limited diusion, such as Polish.
A critical phase in the design of DIY corpora is their assessment in terms of
appropriateness. As argued by Monzó Nebot, an important focus for activities using
ad hoc corpora must be the development of evaluation and discrimination skills on the
part of the students(2008, 226). The advantage of DIY corpora over ready-made
corpora is that they develop generalisable and transferable skills related to the critical
assessment of resources used as translating aids. Such skills are a part of information
literacy, one of key components of translation competence (see Massey and
Ehrensberger-Dow 2011). They also fall under the information mining competence in
the EMT model of competences, to be demonstrated by the following components:
Knowing how to identify ones information and documentation requirements,
Developing criteria for evaluation vis-à-vis documents accessible on the internet or
any other medium, i.e. knowing how to evaluate the reliability of documentary sources
(critical mind)(Gambier ed. 2009, 6), and by the following components in the context
of legal translation specically Identifying specic legal sources (e.g. dictionaries, term
bases, glossaries, corpora, experts) and evaluating their reliabilityand Being able to
dierentiate between legal source with reference to national, international and EU
systems and jurisdictions(Scarpa and Orlando 2017). As stressed by Way in relation
to legal translation, How much a translator knows is no longer as important as
knowing how to nd reliable information and lter, select, ad use it correctly(2016,
1015). The critical assessment of resources is also strongly linked to strategic compe-
tence and thematic competence, in particular as regards the assessment of target
audiences expectations and suitable selection of resources in accordance with the
translation strategy/procedure.
Now, let us move to a description of searches that can be run on corpora.
Comparable corpora may be used for terminology mining to solve text production
problems, for example to verify dictionary candidates for equivalents, assess their
acceptability and eliminate those which are less optimal. As observed by Varantola,
[t]ranslators need equivalents, but they also need reassurance: therefore translators do
not like to nd equivalents which they do not recognize(2002, 175). As revealed by
process research, terminology mining behaviour changes with experience: while novice
translators check more items in dictionaries, professional translators consult more,
especially monolingual dictionaries and reference works (Göpferich and Jääskeläinen
2009, 175; see also; Way 2016, 1020 on legal translation traineespreoccupation with
dictionaries). This nding extends to legal translation, with the growing use of legal
resources and other specialised reference works with the progression of training. A
corpus is one of such reference tools which contextualises potential equivalents and
raises traineesawareness of the system-bound nature of legal terms.
Let us illustrate the discussion with the translation of the Polish term prokurent in a
document to be read by a UK lawyer. Prokurent is a special type of registered company
agent appointed by the Management Board who is authorised to represent and bind the
company and to sign documents on behalf of the company. This concept comes from
German company law (Prokurist) and is known in continental Europe but is unknown
322 Ł.BIEL
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in English law. One of the prevalent equivalents among Polish translators is a proxy
(for example at a popular terminological discussion forum for translators KudoZ).
A verication of proxy in the corpus of UK company law (Companies Act 2006 and
UK model articles of association) shows that a proxy is used only in the context of
voting at a General Meeting and is appointed by a member (shareholder) of a company
to vote as instructed at the meeting (see Figure 1). Thus, this equivalent is misleading
because it does not evoke the coremeaning (or essentialia in Šarčevićs terms 1997,
237) of the source concept, that is powers to bind the company and sign documents on
behalf of the company. It is particularly useful to resort to a corpus, as a support of
comparative legal analysis, in the case of notorious incongruent concepts which are
stumbling blocksthat have to be researched much more carefully in order to approx-
imate them in an optimal way.
Another application of comparable corpora is their potential to disambiguate near
synonyms (see Goźdź-Roszkowski 2013). For example, the Polish term składka has two
main equivalents in the context of insurance law: a premium and a contribution. The
analysis of their collocational environment in a corpus of UK law enables trainees to
make a meaningful distinction between the two. While the former collocates with
insurance premium, share premium, lease premium, cash premium, the latter appears
with social security contribution and pension contribution. Full synonymy is rare in legal
language, at least there are attempts to curb it as much as possible and translators have
to take extra care to select the right term from the range of acceptable equivalents, as
well as to dierentiate between the legal and semi-legal/colloquial variants of terms.
The key pedagogical advantage of comparable corpora over other resources is
their possibility to shift attention from a term to a pattern, such as the collocations
of terms and formulae, during the translation process. As aptly observed by
Varantola, [t]ranslators often need information relating to longer stretches of text
than a single lexical item(2002, 175). Corpora have provided ample evidence that
language is highly patterned, which supports Sinclairʼs idiom principle positing the
Figure 1. Corpus-based verication of proxy as an equivalent.
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prefabrication of language: a language user has available to him or her a large
number of semi-preconstructed phrases that constitute single choices, even though
they might appear to be analysable into segments(1991, 110). Patternings and pre-
fabrication are further intensied in legal language where excessive formulaicity is a
safeguard for the certainty of interpretation where the meaning of patterns has been
petriedby courts or use (Mattila 2006, 233). And this is where corpora should
come into the picture thanks to their ability to identify and verify recurrent patterns
of legal language.
In the example below, which is taken from the Polish Minutes of the Annual General
Meeting of a public limited company, to be translated for UK-based shareholders,
students use a corpus of UK company law (or a more specialised DIY corpus of
AGM minutes) to check how to translate a pattern composed of a term and colloca-
tions: Przewodniczący stwierdziłkworum na Walnym Zgromadzeniu [lit. The Chairman
ascertained a quorum at the General Meeting].
A search for quorum (Figure 2) yields quite a few patterns which can be narrowed
down to the following list of phrases that appear in a similar context:
If the persons attending it do not constitute a quorum
a general meeting at which a quorum is present
the purposes of determining whether a quorum is participating
the requirement as to the quorum is met without. ..
deciding whether there is a quorum at a meeting
Students obtain a list of viable options from the corpus and can adopt them structurally
in their translations, e.g. The Chairman determined/declared that the quorum was
present /was participating /there was a quorum at the meeting, and thus go beyond
the literal. The reason for resorting to a corpus is to identify and verify the natural
collocational environment of terms to condently embed them in text. Legal colloca-
tions are system-bound and show a high degree of xedness with lower variation and
Figure 2. Search for quorum collocates.
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synonymy than collocations in other specialised discourses (Biel 2014, 47). Frequencies
veried in a corpus may help dierentiate typical and frequent combinations from
possible but rare ones. It is one of the parameters that verify the naturalness of
translations, proposed by Peter Newmark in the pre-corpus era in 1981 under the
name of the principle of equivalent frequency of usage (1981, 145). Corpora may also
enable trainees to eliminate collocations from lower (colloquial) registers or semi-legal
variants of collocates or terms trainees are more prone to use due to their low exposure
to legal varieties of language (Biel 2010, 31) and better familiarity with non-legal
Collocations are diagnostic, vital elements(Partington 1998, 17), the more so in
legal translation, and their distortion often gives trainees away as inexperienced non-
specialised writersnon-lawyers. The collocational environment of terms is highly
context-dependent, especially in law where a term may have dierent collocations
depending on the branch of law. This information is often missing in bilingual legal
dictionaries which provide decontextualised equivalents, as well as in dictionaries of
collocations which tend to focus on general language (see Biel 2010, 30). Furthermore,
corpora ensure a more precise verication of collocations and patterns than googling,
which is an unreliable (and often a secondary) resource in legal translation, inter alia,
due to the fact that it distorts frequency and provenance information. It should be also
stressed that the frequency of occurrence is not an ultimate measure of collocate
acceptability in legal discourse. For example, the Polish term aport non-cash consid-
eration for shareshas a verbal collocate wnieść bring, which occurs only twice in a 7-
million corpus of Polish Law (PLC). Nevertheless, it is a legitimate collocation of aport
because it is sanctioned in legislation. Even a single occurrence of a collocate in
legislation may sanction it, even though it does not meet standard recurrence thresholds
to count as a collocation.
Comparable corpora enable trainees to observe and imitate how legal professionals
write and are thus instrumental in developing traineesphraseological competence. As a
warm-up pre-translation exercise, students may be asked to draft a short glossary of
collocations and other phrasemes for key target-system terms to be used in a translation
task. For example, before translating a US deed of appointment of attorneys-in-fact (a
power of attorney) to be used in Poland by a Polish branch of a US-based bank, students
can be asked to search for pełnomocnik attorneyand related terms which appear in the
collocational window to identify patterns these terms trigger. As a result, students are less
prone to translate SL patterns literally. For example, appoints in the Appointor appoints
each of the persons (each empowered to act alone) severally as attorneys-in-fact often
prompts a literal equivalent wyznacza [appoints] pełnomocnika (and sometimes a more
elevated nominuje [nominates]) in trainee translations instead of the collocate ustanawia
[establishes] pełnomocnika, a pattern sanctioned in the Polish Civil Code. Similarly, the
phrase in brackets may be translated functionally through a pattern identied in the
corpus: każdy z nich może działaćsamodzielnie [each of them may act by themselves].
Such patterns can be retrieved directly by a close reading of relevant sections of the Civil
Code; however, trainees often do not know which legislation they should look up. This
problem is solved by resorting to a corpus of legislation.
Such a corpus-based exercise sensitises trainees to the role of legal phraseology, which is
often overlooked by trainees, who, quite understandably, tend to focus on incongruent
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system-specic terms as units of legal knowledge (see also Way 2016, 1020). Instead of
focusing on the term level, trainees need to shift attention to a broader phrase level to
activate relevant elements of cognitive scripts/frames by recreating the patterning typical
of target-system legal genres in translations. Exposure to authentic non-translated
instances of legal usage helps overcome interference exerted by source-language pattern-
ings and produce more natural translations. The importance of such immersion in
authentic legal language cannot be underestimated, considering that legal translation
trainees often have a background in languages rather than law, especially in Masters
degree Translation Programmes. Before starting a Translation Programme, students tend
to have had little exposure to law and to have shown little interest in law. They may have a
supercial and disconnected knowledge of the source and the target legal system, as well as
a limited command of the source and the target legal language, generic conventions,
terminology and phraseology. This situation applies to the Polish training context, but has
also been reported for other countries, e.g. Spain (cf. Way 2016,10191020).
To sum up, when used as a decision-making aid and a resource during the
translation process, comparable corpora help increase the communicative potential
of legal translations by raising studentsawareness of target-system conventions,
allowing for more nuanced terminology/phraseology work, reduced interference
and the selection of more familiar typical patternings, which makes the processing
of a translated text more ecient and requires less cognitive eort on the part of the
reader. From the pedagogical point of view, corpora help students take a more active
role in their learning process: corpus-based training fosters the studentsactive
involvement in the management of their own learning(Monzó Nebot 2008,247;
see also Bernardini, Stewart, and Zanettin 2003,5).Theuseofcorporainthe
classroom is experiential learning associated with an inductive teaching methodol-
ogy, known as data-driven learning (Granger 2003, 24) and data-driven discovery
learning (Stubbs 2004, 107). This is in line with the recent prevailing trend in
translator training a shift from teacher-centred approaches to student-centred
approaches which promote learner autonomy and gradually transfer the responsi-
bility for learning to students (Kelly 2005,5657; González-Davies and Kiraly 2006,
83); in addition, corpora may also improve collaborative work and interaction in the
classroom (Borja Albi et al. 2014, 193). Ultimately, corpora not only foster students
autonomy but also improve their learning capacities (Bernardini 2004,107).Inthe
next section it will be demonstrated how corpora can be applied to research
translations in order to reect on the translation process.
3.2. Method 2: study of corpora to reect on the translation
processresearch-informed development of critical thinking skills
In this complementary method comparable corpora are used to study professional
translations in order to reect on the translation process, develop reective and critical
thinking for translation purposes and acquire an improved understanding of processes
and constraints in legal translation. Critical thinking is a meta-cognitive activity which
consists in thinking about thinking; one of its key components is reective thinking,
which involves reection about the translation process. The need to develop critical
thinking has been promoted, inter alia, in the inuential book by Dorothy Kelly A
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Handbook for Translator Trainers. A Guide to Reective Practice (2005). One of the
reasons behind it is that critical thinking skills are known to be better developed in
experts than in novice translators. As stressed by Kussmaul, professionalism implies the
ability to rationalise ones decision-making processes in an objective way(1995, 33),
and as further conrmed by process research, expert translators have better analytical,
creative and practical skills (Göpferich and Jääskeläinen 2009, 176). One of the training
objectives is to reduce the novice to expert gap; activities targeted at critical thinking
skills contribute to meeting this objective.
Critical thinking skills inuence the development of translation competence, and
most importantly its strategic sub-competence (see also section 2 above). With solid
grounding in research on translator training, more recent approaches to translation
competence (Göpferich 2013; Hurtado Albir 2015) regard strategic sub-competence
as fundamental to the acquisition of translation competence. Strategic sub-compe-
tence is procedural knowledge required to ensure the ecacy of the translation
process and to solve problems arising(Hurtado Albir 2015, 259). It is a key meta-
cognitive competence which controls how other sub-competences are applied during
the translation process (Göpferich 2013,66)by activating and creating links between
all other sub-competences(Hurtado Albir 2015, 259). Such skills also foster the
development of an overarching problem-solving and decision-making framework,
which enables legal translation trainees to condently solve problems in new situa-
tions (cf. Way 2014, 143, 148). Secondly, critical thinking skills contribute to the
development of critical awareness, one of the important psycho-physiological com-
ponents of translation competence. Self-awareness is closely linked to and leads to
self-condence, both of which constitute a professional translatorsmake-up
(Kussmaul 1995,32).
Critical thinking skills are strongly developed through research (and I mean research
in the strict sense rather than information mining during the translation process) and
other academic components, which may diversify and enrich the learning process. As
observed by Douglas Robinson, translation requires a mixture of both unconscious real-
world learning and conscious rational analytical learning through academic activities
([1997] 2003, 49). This is taken further by Sonia Vandepitte, who stresses that the
academic competence of reading and thinking critically is strongly fostered by research
competences. Research competences are closely linked to and potentially supportive of
translation competences and, hence, prepare students for translation. Two sets of
competences signicantly overlap and, hence, they require an integrated view
(Vandepitte 2013, 142143).
MA programmes oer ample room for supporting translation competence through
research competence during academic modules, including Mastersdegree dissertations.
As an empirical, inductive, data-driven and bottom-up approach, corpus methodology
suits this purpose well. Translations can be researched on corpora in two fundamental
ways: on parallel corpora to analyse the relation of translations to their source texts
(equivalence) and on comparable corpora to analyse the relation of translations to TL
nontranslations (textual t). The subsequent part will focus on the latter due to its potential
to raise studentsawareness of the communicative dimension of legal translations.
The method of studying translations against TL nontranslations was rst introduced
by Mona Baker to test the hypotheses of translation universals (1995), now more often
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referred to as typical features/tendencies/patterns/regularities of translations rather
than absolute universals (see Olohan 2004, 90; Zanettin 2012, 12). The objective behind
it is to observe how and understand why translations deviate from nontranslations.
Baker believes that this type of research may provide data which will help us arrive at
more global statements about the nature of translated text(1995, 236). Controversial as
they are,
the hypotheses of translation universals are theoretically engaging and arouse
vivid interest among students in the classroom, forcing them to take a stance. So far
studies have been conducted mainly on literary or press translations; thus, there is little
corpus-based evidence from the eld of legal translation and students can engage in
discovery learning.
To explore the hypotheses of translation universals in the classroom we need a set of
comparable corpora: translations and TL nontranslations of a comparable genre. It is useful
to add a general TL corpus (e.g. a national corpus), if available, as a benchmark.
Comparable corpora can be built by the students themselves or can be reused from research
projects. For the purpose of this discussion, I use two corpora from my past EUROFOG
project which explored, inter alia, the textual t of translated EU law to Polish national law
(Biel 2014). The rst corpus contains EU directives translated into Polish (L-Acquis),
while the reference corpora are: (1) the corpus of Polish National Law (PLC) and (2) the
National Corpus of Polish (NKJP), as a representative sample of (non-legal) Polish. The
L-Acquis and PLC corpora are of a comparable size of 6 million words.
The subsequent part illustrates how the function of keywords may be used to
investigate the features of translated texts. Keywords are generated by concordancers
as lexemes which occur with a markedly higher frequency in one corpus against a
reference corpus. Keywords have pedagogical value as they are strongly indicative of
distinctive features of a genre (see Scott 2013, 199). Students are given the following
task to generate and analyse keywords quantitatively and qualitatively:
(1) Upload the corpora into a concordancer (e.g. Wordsmith) and generate
(2) Generate a Keywords list for the corpus of EU directives (L-Acquis) against the
Polish Law Corpus (PLC). Swap the corpora and generate a Keywords list for
national legal language (PLC) against the eurolect (L-Acquis). The rst list will
contain words which are overrepresented, i.e. appear untypically more frequent,
in translations while the latter will contain words which are underrepresented,
i.e. are untypically less common in translations compared to nontranslations.
(3) Using the template below (Table 1), sort both groups of keywords into gramma-
tical categories, e.g. verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, participles,
demonstratives, subordinators, coordinators. Group the keywords according to
functional categories which represent key generic features of legislation, e.g.
deontic modality, mental models of legal reasoning (if-then, cause-eect), deper-
sonalisation, framing (addition and enumeration, contrast, circumstance adver-
bials, etc.), textual mapping and navigation (patterns used to establish legal
authority, conict-signalling and conict-resolving patterns).
The nal task for the students is to analyse the categories and prominent keywords
through concordances and explain why certain categories and keywords tend to be
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overrepresented or underrepresented in translations. It should be borne in mind that in
the case of EU translation it is a complex question as there are many political, legal,
linguistic and procedural factors which contribute to such departures and the divergent
t of EU legal translations.
One of the possible explanations of overrepresentation is interference from the
source language. Interference is a pervasive phenomenon and a kind of defaultin
translation: it is caused by rapid bidirectional switches between SL and TL and requires
additional processing eorts to be minimised (Toury 1995, 275). Based on the above
keywords analysis, Table 2 shows the strong overrepresentation of deixis in translations
compared to nontranslations, the overrepresentation which results from interference
from English.
Frequencies are evidence and concrete measures of how translator-mediated texts
depart from what is conventional in a comparable target genre (Polish legislation in the
table above) and what is natural for a target language in general (the National Corpus of
Polish). They help students identify by themselves critical areas of interference for a
given language pair in professional translations and reduce their adverse impact in their
own translations. Reduced interference increases the communicative potential of trans-
lations as the impression of the translationese is weaker and such translations sound
more natural to recipients.
Table 1. A template for sorting keywords.
Corpus of translations
(overrepresented in translations)
Corpus of TL nontranslations
(underrepresented in translations)
I. Grammatical categories
- other verbs
II. Functional categories
Deontic modality
Table 2. Interference as a cause of the strong overrepresentation of deixis in translations compared
to nontranslations (frequencies normalised per 1 million words).
Translated Polish Nontranslated Polish
Keyword: Deixis EU directives Polish national law National Corpus of Polish
1. niniejszy
[this] 4700 524 26
2. następujący
[following] 1236 565 87
[below-ADJ] 105 26 9
[above-ADJ] 237 32 49
3. odnośny
[respective] 85 1 1
TOTAL 6363 1148 172
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Another tendency of translations caused by asymmetries between source and target
languages is known as unique items. Unique items are TL features (lexical, phraseolo-
gical, syntactic or textual) which do not have straightforward counterparts in the SL and
are not activated and evoked as equivalents as there is no obvious linguistic stimulus
for them in the source text(Tirkkonen-Condit 2004, 177178). They have substantially
lower frequency in translations compared to nontranslations (178). Thus, they are
identied through negative keywordswords which are signicantly underrepresented
in a corpus compared to the reference corpus. An example of a unique item is presented
in Table 3.
The table shows a deontic modal musi [must] which is very frequent in translated
directives (nearly 3000 occurrences per 1 million words) and is hardly ever used in
nontranslated national legislation (69 occurrences), even though it is quite frequent in
general Polish (506 occurrences). Such strong overrepresentation is usually linked to an
underrepresentation of a TL pattern which is conventionally used in a given genre. In
this case it is a phraseme jest obowiązany [is obliged], which typically expresses
obligation in Polish legislation; the corresponding English pattern is obliged to has a
descriptive rather than a performative function and has low frequency in legislation.
Searches for unique items are pedagogically interesting as they are strong indicators of
constraints which occur in the translation process.
Departures from legal generic conventions merit more attention and should be
identied and analysed by students themselves. The next example, which is also derived
from the keywords analysis described above, shows trainees that TL genre-specic
conventions are not always preserved in professional translations and may in some
cases be overcome by a more frequent item from everyday language. Table 4 presents a
distribution of conditionals with the conjunction jeżeli and jeśli. They both correspond
to the English if and are synonymous in general language although jeśli is less formal
and twice as frequent in general language than its more formal variant jeżeli. However,
Polish legal professionals are trained to use only the formal jeżeli (a frequency of 3172
Table 3. Example of underrepresentation in translationunique items (frequencies normalised per 1
million words).
Functional keyword: deontic modality
Translated Polish Nontranslated Polish
EU directives Polish national law National Corpus of Polish
[must] 2851 69 506
jest obowiązany
[is obliged-DATED] 6 880 15
Table 4. Generic conventions and the impact of general target language on translations (frequencies
normalised per 1 million words).
Translated Polish Nontranslated Polish
Keyword: Deixis EU directives Polish national law National Corpus of Polish
[if-FORM] 1760 3172 437
[if-NEUT] 1108 31 742
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occurrences per million words in Polish legislation) and their use of jeśli is negligible.
Translators seem unaware of this usage and use both synonyms interchangeably. It is
likely that, being twice as frequent in general language, jeśli strongly suggests itself as an
equivalent at the expense of jeżeli. Thus, by including a national corpus, students can
also test the impact of general target language on the choices made by translators of
specialised texts; to the best of my knowledge, this phenomenon has not been given
sucient attention in translator training.
The awareness of target genre-specic conventions tends to be signicantly lower in
trainees and often gives them away. If students discover target generic conventions
through corpus work, they will conform to such conventions more consciously and
condently in their own translations.
A further step from this is a contrastive analysis of generic conventions in related
legal genres (see for example Borja, García Izquierdo, and Montalt 2009), e.g. legisla-
tion, judgments, contracts, legal opinions, academic texts. Conventions may be
researched through keywords or through lexical bundles (n-grams). Recent studies
show a high variation of phraseological proles across related legal genres (see
Goźdź-Roszkowski 2011) and between sub-genres, such as multilingual EU legislation
and national legislation. For example, EU legislation in English shows a strong pre-
ference for pursuant to at the expense of in pursuance of, which is preferred in UK
legislation, and for on the basis of at the expense of by virtue of (see Biel 2015 for more
The above exercise of keyword analysis can be conducted in the classroom, pre-
ferably as group projects to capitalise on the social construction of knowledge and
empowerment through collaborative learning (see González-Davies and Kiraly 2006).
Comparable corpora may also be involved in studentsindividual research projects, in
particular in Masters degree dissertations. Students may use existing corpora or build
their own corpora. Take for example a paper by my student Hanna Juszkiewicz
published in Comparative Legilinguistics. International Journal for Legal
Communication (Juszkiewicz 2012). The paper is based on her MA dissertation for
the purposes of which Juszkiewicz compiled a corpus of UK divorce and judicial
separation materials to assist her annotated translation of Polish divorce documents
into UK English and to draft a monolingual glossary of key terms and collocations as an
aid for translators. Similar examples of corpus-based dissertations may be found in
other countries.
The main advantages of corpus-based research may be summarised as follows: (1)
Corpora oer trainees a way of observing professional practice (way of socialisation)
and reecting on how problems were solved by translators; (2) Corpora sensitise
trainees to TL generic conventions; (3) Corpora enable students to observe the features
of translated texts and if necessary, apply corrective measures. Chesterman argues that
the improved knowledge of the features of translated texts will result in trainers
perception of such features as undesirable and more eorts to avoid them in transla-
tions (2004, 11). This knowledge is essential for developing more focused training
resources with solid grounding in empirical data and aimed at achieving a more
convergent textual t of translations.
The study of corpora to research translations in order to reect on the translation
process contributes to the acquisition of two intertwined competences research
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competence and translation competence. It is associated with experiential learning
which leads to a deep approach (critical evaluation, high levels of cognitive processing)
and high levels of understanding (cf. Kelly 2005, 48). Thinking about thinking allows
trainees to take a critical stance and develop a questioning attitude, spot areas which
require improvement, avoid any fossilisation of errors and of stages of development,
and nally, raises self-awareness and self-condence. It contributes to the acquisition of
strategic sub-competence and, hence, of translation competence.
A potential disadvantage of corpora is that activities aimed at developing critical
thinking are very often time-consuming. Corpora may slow down the translation process
when they are applied directly in the translation classroom. However, Kussmaul argues
that it is worthwhileto invest time in analytical procedures because they may be later
internalised and automated by frequent use (1995, 150). Secondly, Bernardini, Stewart
and Zanettin observe a paradox: corpora can and should be employed to problematise
rather than simplify the task of (future) translators. The greatest pedagogic value of the
instrument lies, we suggest, in its thought-provoking, rather than question-answering,
potential(2003, 11). While the question-answering potential is realised by Method 1, the
study of corpora to research translations (Method 2) has a thought-proving potential. By
provoking questions about the nature of legal translation, techniques and strategies
applied by professional translators, departures of translations from non-translations
and optimal ways of approximating source texts to recipientsexpectancy norms, knowl-
edge and needs, corpora raise traineesawareness of the communicative dimension of
legal translation and put translation recipients in the spotlight. This helps to train what
Christiane Nord (2000) refers to as functional translators’–that is translators who are
aware that legal translation is a means of intersystemic or intrasystemic communication
with its own communicative goals.
1. The leading role of Spain as a precursor of corpora is also conrmed by Gallego-
Hernándezs survey of Spanish translators in which as many as 48% of translators
responded that they used corpora very often, often or sometimes (2015).
3. While parallel corpora may be useful to study institutional conventions, in the case of EU
institutional translations conventional macrostructural formulae are usually retrieved from
templates and style guides.
4. While parallel corpora may be useful for the training of institutional translators to
study institutional conventions, in the case of EU institutional translations such con-
ventions are usually retrieved from templates and style guides. Terminological searches
through the static parallel corpus tend to be far less accurate that searches through
EUR-Lex and/or IATE. At the initial stage of training, it is more important to teach
students how to.
5. A useful survey of legal corpora in other languages may be found in Pontrandolfospaper
8. See Kasirer (qtd. in Harvey 2002,178) and Way (2016) on the legicentrism of legal
translation studies.
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9. Strategic competence and service provision competence seem to be equivalent in two
models (see Prieto Ramos 2011, 1) for further discussion.
10. See Biel (2011)for a distinction between translation and translator competence in the legal
11. The picture is more complex though, if we deal with bilingual and multilingual law.
12. Imgrateful to an anonymous reviewer for this comment.
13. See Biel (2014,108110) for an overview of the criticism.
14. Downloaded from the JRC corpus, which is available in 22 EU languages on http:// See Biel (2014) for a more detailed description of the
This work was supported by the National Science Centre (NCN) under Grant 2014/14/E/HS2/
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the author.
This study was nanced by research grant no. 2014/14/E/HS2/00782 from the National Science
Centre, Poland.
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... Overall, the main research trends clearly discernible in Łucja Biel's publications are related to: 1) legal translation; 2) corpus linguistics; 3) terminology and phraseology; 4) translator education 15 . The following description of the major research trends aims to provide a perfunctory overview of Biel's research output in order to familiarise the reader with the range of topics tackled in her works 16 . ...
... 58). 16 Section 2 contains a comprehensive bibliography of Biel's publications which appeared between 2004 and the end of 2022. oriented research on legal translation set the ground for similarly oriented research on EU legal translation, which is described by her as a sub-genre (i.e. a special type) within the field of legal translation (see publication no. ...
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This article consists of two sections. The first outlines the research profile of Dr hab. Łucja Biel, Prof. ucz., a Polish linguist recognised nationwide and internationally who specializes in the analysis of legal varieties of Polish and English in the context of legal translation studies, corpus linguistics and translator training. The second part contains a detailed list of publications (co-)authored or co-edited by Łucja Biel and published between 2004 and 2022.
... Inadequate subject knowledge had caused the students to fail to understand the content of the texts, as the consequence, they chose irrelevant words to represent the writer's ideas they were confused with choosing the most appropriate method to translate the texts. However, these contextual cases were scientifically understood since there were unique items where terminologies found in both source language and target language were asymmetric (Biel, 2017). These distinctive phenomena should be taken into consideration since the translation of very specific terminologies and collocations in any language, including, for instance, English-Indonesian language pair and vice versa, were very much dependent on the contexts (Biel, 2017). ...
... However, these contextual cases were scientifically understood since there were unique items where terminologies found in both source language and target language were asymmetric (Biel, 2017). These distinctive phenomena should be taken into consideration since the translation of very specific terminologies and collocations in any language, including, for instance, English-Indonesian language pair and vice versa, were very much dependent on the contexts (Biel, 2017). Therefore, this is the job for professional translators to share their knowledge and translation experiences in providing the students who are studying translation courses with more relevant solutions for their translation problems (Harto et al., 2020b). ...
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Although post-editing of machine translation (PEMT) has been much discussed and spoken among students in higher education institutions, little empirical evidence has been reported regarding the students’ real practices in their academic life. To fill this practical gap, this article explores the students’ experiences in dealing with PEMT in a Theoretical Foundation of Translating and Interpreting (TFTI) course. This exploration elaborates practical insights into how the students initially started practicing translation through PEMT in their actual day-to-day practices. Fifty-eight English students studying in an undergraduate program in a prominent public university in Indonesia voluntarily participated in this qualitative case study. Data were collected from students’ focused-group discussion (FGD), survey questionnaire, in-depth interviews, and students’ documents and the data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings showed that post-editing process provides the students with experiences in building their text knowledge to enable them to have high awareness and sensitivity to the academic texts. In addition, in PEMT practices, the students’ experiences were explored through the implementation of translation methods and techniques expected to build their awareness in PEMT with regard to language structure and language function. These experiences have given some empirical inputs for the lecturers to design relevant tasks and apply various translating practices for students’ more meaningful learning.
... What might be expected from MT in terms of quality and potential increases to productivity as a resource for legal translators will likely vary according to task, language pair, and legal text type. Since technologies such as MT can increasingly be leveraged, continue to develop, and become more commonplace in legal TI, training programs must reflect on how resources are addressed and allocated throughout the curriculum (e.g., Biel, 2011Biel, , 2017Kenny & Doherty, 2014;Prieto Ramos, 2011;Way, 2016). A domain-specific focus on technologies moves them out of standalone technologies courses or modules in a pedagogically productive way (Mellinger, 2017) so that they are addressed repeatedly in other parts of the curriculum and in context-dependent ways. ...
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This introduction presents an overview of the special issue of Revista Llengua i Dret / Journal of Language and Law on legal translation and interpreting (TI) in the technologized world. Although legal translation technologies are widely available and accepted in many specialized domains, their use in legal contexts has historically been limited by financial, institutional, and textual resources. The lack of availability hampers the development of high-quality technological applications that can support TI professionals working in legal settings. The contributions to this special issue address the availability and use of resources from different perspectives. Several articles investigate the development of NMT systems by leveraging high-quality resources from under-resourced or related languages, while others assess MT systems as potential resources for translation productivity and quality. Contributions also examine the allocation of institutional resources to train translators and interpreters for work in legal settings. ÚS DE LA TECNOLOGIA EN LA TRADUCCIÓ I LA INTERPRETACIÓ JURÍDIQUES: POTENCIAL, DISPONIBILITAT I APLICACIONS DELS RECURSOS Resum En aquesta introducció es presenta un resum del número especial que la Revista de Llengua i Dret, Journal of Language and Law dedica a la traducció i la interpretació (TI) jurídiques en el món de les tecnologies. Tot i que les tecnologies de la traducció són àmpliament accessibles i acceptades en molts dominis especialitzats, el seu ús en contextos jurídics ha estat històricament limitat pels recursos financers, institucionals i textuals. La manca de disponibilitat dificulta el desenvolupament d'aplicacions tecnològiques de qualitat que poden ajudar qui treballa professionalment en la TI en contextos jurídics. Les contribucions d'aquest número especial tracten la disponibilitat i l'ús dels recursos des de diferents perspectives. Diversos articles investiguen el desenvolupament de sistemes de traducció automàtica neuronal (TAN) aprofitant els recursos de qualitat de llengües relacionades o amb pocs recursos, mentre que en d'altres s'analitzen els sistemes de traducció automàtica (TA) com a possibles recursos per a la productivitat i la qualitat en traducció. En les col·laboracions també s'estudia l'assignació de recursos institucionals a la formació en traducció i interpretació per treballar en contextos jurídics. Paraules clau: traducció jurídica; tecnologies de la traducció; traducció automàtica; avaluació de sistemes de TA; assignació de recursos; llengües amb pocs recursos.
... corpora and e-learning platforms. Legal corpora are used as: (1) a translation aid to enhance communicative aspects of legal translation by raising trainees' awareness of TL conventions, and (2) a socialisation resource to reflect on professional translators' problem solving and develop critical thinking skills (Biel (2017a); Monzó Nebot (2008)). Other tools include debating fora in e-learning platforms as online 24 communities, enhancing trainees' motivation to improve legal knowledge and raising their confidence (Bestué and Orozco, 2016: 482-483). ...
Chapter 19 maps the field of legal translation practice, research and training, beginning with an overview of the history of legal translation and its reorientation from literalness towards functional, receiver-oriented approaches which ensure equivalent effects and perceive legal translation as an act of legal communication. The chapter identifies the key characteristics of legal translation, both intersystemic and institutional, and discusses attempts to standardize legal translation by way of an ISO standard. It reviews key research trends and methods in legal translation studies, and outlines the competencies that legal translators need to acquire, suggesting how these can be developed.
... Podczas kontekstualizacji można włączyć pracę z tekstami równoległymi (np. z wykorzystaniem oprogramowania do analizy korpusowej typu WordSmith czy Sketch Engine) oraz ekstrakcję z nich terminologii i frazeologii charakterystycznej dla analogicznych tekstów w języku docelowym (Biel 2017a). Bardzo ważny jest ostatni krok -sprawdzenie tłumaczenia, który jest obowiązkowym etapem również według norm ISO 2015 i 2020. ...
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Corpus-assisted translation teaching: Issues and challenges is an insightful attempt at presenting a broad picture of the approaches that are crucially dependent upon the application of corpora in translation teaching. The goal of this interdisciplinary and empirical volume is to introduce “corpora into translation classrooms” (Liu, 2020, p. 1) and “to study the extent to which corpora can have an impact on translation training” (ibid.).
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This paper is aimed at exploring whether and how machine translation (MT) can be relied on in the legal field. To this aim, clauses excerpted from a distribution agreement are translated from Italian into English by using the Deepl machine translation platform. In order to assess the reliability and quality of the translation, a corpus of distribution agreements written in English as a first language and as a lingua franca is composed. The contracts are sourced from the platform, and the reference corpus is built semi-automatically by using the BootCaT software solution. In order to retrieve documents drafted in international English and hence validated by international lawyers or businesspeople, advanced search techniques are applied. The corpus is then consulted by using the AntConc offline concordancer, and the MT is compared with corpus evidence. The paper findings highlight shortcomings in the MT related to legal formulae. Word order is sometimes incorrect and the system specificity of the legal language in the target text remains unaddressed. The paper calls for future improvements in MT software, and reports the need for translators and translation students to be acquainted with legal language style and writing conventions.
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The interconnection between language, culture and ethics is a commonplace within the field of translation studies, more particularly, when discussing legal translation. The role of the translator as a communicator and cultural mediator has long been established. However, the question arises how far the legal translator of EU texts can and is entitled to mediate between legal systems and cultures.
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Translating Texts: An Introductory Coursebook on Translation and Text Formation, a textbook intended for trainee translators in both language-specific and language-neutral translation courses, as well as for language students, provides authentic materials designed to promote text awareness. It offers students an opportunity to gain insight into a text-centered approach to translation, fostering systematic reflection on macro and- micro-textual features of selected genres.
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Although machine translation software and CAT tools are commonly used both by professional translators and by those involved in the training of translators, the usefulness of electronic text corpora for these purposes is less widely known. Corpora of various types have become much easier to access during the last decade, and the main obstacle to their becoming a standard tool for translators is currently the inertia of both the industry and universities. Translator training in universities can play an important role in promoting new working methods. To study to what extent corpora are present in university translator training programmes, a survey was carried out. The responses show that corpora are indeed becoming part of curricula, at least in EU countries. However, the role of corpora in these programmes is often peripheral. For example, compiling Do-It-Yourself corpora – a very important skill for translators – is still taught in only a few university programmes. For the most part, corpora are used mainly as a research instrument rather than as a tool in practical translation work.
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The paper explores the hypothesis that a large proportion of non-terminological word combinations in legislation is built around complex prepositions, which significantly contribute to phraseological profiles of legislative genres. The paper analyses the distribution and functions of complex prepositions in multilingual EU law and national law, on a comparative (cross-system-ic) and contrastive English-Polish basis, against the background of general language. The analysis is conducted in the corpus-based methodology with the corpora of EU legislation (JRC Acquis) – regulations and directives, national legislation of the UK (BoLC) and of Poland (PLC), and general corpora (BNC and NKJP). The findings confirm that complex prepositions are very frequent and hence cognitively salient in the genre of legislation: complex prepositions show increased distribution against general language, in particular in Polish. It is demonstrated that national legislation and EU legislation (translationese) are profiled by different sets of salient prepositions, which may adversely affect the readability of the latter due to interference. Functionally, it has been demonstrated that the phraseological profiles of legislative instruments are marked by complex prepositions used predominantly in referencing patterns (authority, conflict), conditionals, anchoring (framing) patterns, defining patterns and time deixis.
Full-text available This contribution reviews the idea of discovery learning with corpora, proposed in the 1990s, evaluating its potential and its implications with reference to the education of translators today. The rationale behind this approach to data-driven learning, combining project-based and form-focused instruction within a socio-constructivistically inspired environment, is discussed. Examples are also provided of authentic, open-ended learning experiences, thanks to which students of translation share responsibility over the development of corpora and their consultation, and teachers can abandon the challenging role of omniscient knowledge providers and wear the more honest hat of "learning experts". Adding to the more straightforward uses of corpora in courses that aim to develop thematic, technological and information mining competences – i.e., in which training is offered in the use of corpora as professional aids –, attention is focused on foreign language teaching for translators and on corpora as learning aids, highlighting their potential for the development of the three other European Master's in Translation (EMT) competences (translation service provision, language and intercultural ones).